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Sunday, April 1, 2012

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Passion (Palm) Sunday

Mark 11:1-10 or
John 12:12-16
(Entrance Processional)
Isaiah 50:4-7

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i am, your savior

"Jesus answered: 'I am.' " —Mark 14:62

"I AM" is the name God revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai (Ex 3:14). In that context, the name "I AM" carried the image of unapproachable majesty and holiness. Moses was not permitted to approach God, the "I AM," unless he removed the sandals from his feet (Ex 3:5). When the mob approached Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane to arrest Him, He identified Himself as "I am" (Jn 18:5). "When He said to them, 'I am,' " the mob fell down, powerless before Him (Jn 18:6).

When people testified falsely against Jesus, He was silent and answered nothing (Mk 14:60-61). Yet when Jesus was asked if He was "the Messiah, the Son of the Blessed One," He answered, "I am" (Mk 14:62). Jesus was now identifying Himself as God Almighty in the setting of humility, trial, suffering, and rejection. Throughout Mark's Gospel, Jesus did not allow people to spread His identity when He displayed His sovereign power and healed them (Mk 1:34, 44; 3:12; 8:26; 9:9). Yet now, in this setting of humility and suffering, He declares openly His true identity.

Jesus does not want any confusion. He is a Suffering Servant, a crucified and rejected Messiah. His kingship is proclaimed as He hangs upon His cross. This Holy Week, come to know Jesus as He desires to be known: as God, as King, as Suffering Servant, as Messiah, and as Son of God (Mk 15:39).

Prayer:  "I wish to know Christ and the power flowing from His resurrection; likewise to know how to share in His sufferings by being formed into the pattern of His death" (Phil 3:10).

Promise:  "Clearly this Man was the Son of God!" —Mk 15:39

Praise:  "Blessed is He Who comes as King in the name of the Lord! Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!" (Lk 19:38)

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, October 31, 2011

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